Battlefield Visits, Revolutionary War Edition: Stony Point

From my travels, May 20, 2019.

The next battlefield I visited on my New York trip was the Battle of Stony Point – and what a field it is!

It was here that I first learned of my now-favorite Revolutionary War figure: Brig. Gen. Anthony “Mad Anthony” Wayne. Using the same type of tactics that had been used by the British against his own forces in the 1777 Battle of Paoli, Brig. Gen. Wayne launched a midnight surprise attack, against a fully-manned British fortification atop steep cliffs, located on a peninsula. The only approaches were through swamps. In order to ensure that the surprise was complete, and that there were no accidental warning shots fired, Wayne ordered his troops to make the attack with unloaded weapons. The Continental Corps of Light Infantry would only use bayonets in the assault.

Map of the successful American attack against the British Position at Stony Point. – Map from the United States Military Academy History Department

The plan worked to perfection. The British were completely caught off-guard and Wayne’s troops executed a double-envelopment and took the fort and hundreds of prisoners.

Today, the field has been made into a really lovely New York State Park. It seems pretty well-preserved to me (at least when compared with other Rev War battlefields, which all seem to be neighborhoods or shopping districts these days). There are several interpretive markers that do a great job of telling the story, and even a few artillery pieces.

A lone cannon points up-river at Stony Point. - <i>Photo by the author</i>
A lone cannon points up-river at Stony Point. – Photo by the author
The center of what was once the British fort on Stony Point. The terrain on the top of this peninsula is really unique with multiple rock outcroppings. - <i>Photo by the author</i>
The center of what was once the British fort on Stony Point. The terrain on the top of this peninsula is really unique with multiple rock outcroppings. – Photo by the author

I’m not primarily a Revolutionary War nerd, but the Battle of Stony Point really prompted a lot of interest from me. It doesn’t get the big headlines like Valley Forge, Saratoga, Yorktown, or even Brandywine, but its story is every bit as worthy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *